For legal professionals, it can feel like the world is operating at ever higher speeds, greater volume, and with more complexity — and you're expected to keep up using the same old document creation tools you've been tied to all your life.
But some legal trailblazers are developing new pathways ahead, evolving legal document assembly into a more rapid, efficient, and precise process.
In a recent webinar, Filevine's Head Legal Futurist, Dr. Cain Elliott, talks about the future of document assembly with Assistant Legal Futurist Meagan Ma. These aren't your typical legal wonks: Cain is a philosopher and technologist and Meagan is a fellow at the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics, where she studies computable law and artificial legal intelligence. They approach the practice of law from a fascinating perspective.
Watch the free webinar to learn from legal tech experts how new tools can solve some of the biggest challenges facing modern legal work.
5 Serious Problems that Document Assembly Software for Lawyers Must Solve
1. Redundant data entry
Often, new information comes to light while a legal document is being created. Maybe it's as simple as a change in the filing date. After you type in the change, are you going to remember to go back into your files and update that information?
Data entry is a source of friction in your legal records. It takes time, slows down workers, and introduces errors. Even professionals have a data entry error rate of about 1%. That means every time someone in your office has to manually enter information in your files, you're taking a risk.
When it's tedious or difficult to input new information into your single source of truth...it quickly stops being your single source of truth. The information you need will start splintering into different repositories.
That's why legal document assembly tools must have a seamless, 2-way data sync between the documents you're creating and your case files, so the technology does the work for you.
2. Production lag
Other industries are becoming faster, and your clients are growing accustomed to immediate results in other areas of their lives. If legal professionals can't also increase their speed and volume, they risk becoming obsolete.
Documents represent a major time sink. It's difficult to hound down the right language or find the right documents to pull from. As Meagan Ma explains in the webinar, this is especially pronounced when you're starting as a new associate, still trying to learn the ropes, and you're afraid to ask your seniors for guidance.
Legal professionals are desperate for tools that will help them keep pace with rising expectations, without sacrificing control and accuracy.
Fortunately, legal experts are seeing a way forward with next-generation document assembly tools that automatically gather the best language and help drafters deploy it correctly.
3. Scattered data
You have more data than ever before, right at your fingertips. Unfortunately, your own case and matter information is likely to be scattered across a patchwork of repositories. Some data and documents sit in your case files, some are uploaded to different editing and review apps, some might remain lost in your overwhelmed email inbox.
Many of these tools are useful and essential. But modern document assembly tools must help lawyers maintain one single source of truth for all legal information. No more rifling around to find the right information, no more triple-checking different sources: just one clear and trusted authority guiding decisions.
But with so many different channels for incoming information, how can you funnel the salient facts into one repository? That's where technology designed for the specific complexities of legal work can be necessary.
4. Information silos
The practice of law is becoming more collaborative, but the tools lawyers are using to manage documents haven’t been keeping up.
For many legal professionals, sharing documents is needlessly complex and time-intensive. It's hard to establish different access levels and permissions with a document. Someone will edit a document and forget to upload their new version, or someone will have it open on their computer for days and leave everyone else locked out.
In the end, the process of reviewing, editing, and approving documents turns into a series of bottlenecks.
Watch the webinar to learn about the tools that instead speed up and enhance collaboration.
5. Version confusion
As Meagan Ma jokes in the webinar, when you're saving your document versions, you title one "final." Then you have to call the next one "final final." Then you have "final maybe for real final." And so on.
As you create complex documents which need significant edits and review, the number of versions can grow out of control. You start to lose confidence that the one you're using is actually the most up-to-date. Version confusion also erodes accountability, since it's hard to trace who did what to the documents.
Modern document assembly software must provide a clear record for each document, allowing you to understand how the document has changed over time and making sure you always have the most authoritative version of the document when you need it.
The live, fully-connected document assembly experience
Rather than relying on inert tools that build friction into the document lifecycle, legal futurists are directing professionals to live, agile document assembly systems.
Watch the webinar to learn how you can begin to benefit from these tools today.